Friday, September 18, 2020
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Hey, Cantor, the “Deficit Crisis” Doesn’t Exist

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Eric Cantor is back home from voting a 40th time to overturn "Obamacare," with a pit stop at Fox News where he spouted the latest right-wing talking points about how we have to cut "entitlements" to get the House to fund the government for the next fiscal year because of the "deficit crisis."  But, guess what? There IS no run-away budget deficit. In spite of the do-nothing GOP House of Representatives and the filibuster-loving Senate GOP minority, the deficit is under control. This deficit reduction wasn't done the right way, nor was it done in a way to actually improve government efficiency. Atlantic magazine this month explains just how deficit management was stumbled into, in spite of the Republican-caused gridlock in Washington.

The first step to lowering the deficit was the fiscal-cliff deal the president got Congress to agree to before the first of the year, the deal that raised income tax rates on wealthy Americans. Then, because Congress refused to act to stop a ridiculous sequester that was so extreme no one figured it would happen, another $1 trillion will be lopped off the deficit by the end of the next decade. Those combined actions, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, are sufficient to stabilize the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio. That means the debt is no longer growing faster than the U.S. economy. The deficit crisis is over. As the economy slowly regains momentum after the Great Recession, the improvement in the deficit picture will become even more pronounced.

It's time to declare victory in the deficit war and work to replace the idiotic sequester with more reasonable and sustainable budget constraints. Plus, Congress needs to raise the debt limit and pass a budget. However, Cantor and his tea-poisoned majority in the House now insist that Social Security and Medicare have to be slashed. Since neither one caused the deficit in the first place, it would be foolish to agree to whatever cockamamie scheme Cantor and company have planned to wreck the social safety net for seniors.  

By His Own Definition, Paul Ryan is a “Looter”

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Photo credit: C-Span

People receiving Social Security paid for their benefits throughout their working years.  They did so with their own payroll deductions.  There is an employer's portion as well. But the worker essentially pays for that portion too, by receiving lower pay. In other words, ALL of it comes out of the workers' hides (err paycheck) during their working lives.  There is, however, a portion of  Social Security which is not based on work the beneficiary has done. I speak of survivors' benefits.  Survivors' benefits are based upon the work record of a deceased person.  I am not here addressing whether or not that is a good thing, though I think it is (a good thing).  This portion of Social Security assures that parents of young children left without a breadwinner get the a benefit for each child until each turns 18.  

Paul Ryan received such a benefit. And then he has the nerve to call Social Security recipients as looters (for using the very old age insurance they paid for during their working lives). Why does Paul Ryan hate old people?

I would like to say, how dare he, he who benefited from a system he had never put into at that point?  The man talked like this vilifying essentially every American, for nearly every American will one day take Social Security, assuming that we do not allow Republicans and a few Blue Dogs to destroy the program.  

Warner Being Warner: Pandering, False Equivalence.

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Please take a look at Mark Warner being Warner in a way that is just so hurtful to Dems this year.  Says he:
I think it's going to  be very close.  I know he's got problems in SW Virginia He's doing better in Eastern and Northern Virginia.

And I'll tell you this much, I'm supporting President Obama, but I also am awful tired of all the negative ads. I wish we wouldn't be spending  2 billion dollars on tv tearing each other down. That money could be used for interstate 81 and scholarships.  Hopefully, we'll get through this election like we've gotten through all the others and get back to solving our country's problems, especially the debt and deficit.

He just cannot seem to help himself.  He can't endorse the president without trying to distance himself at the same time. He can't talk about health care reform without saying there's a lot that needs to be fixed (in the Affordable Care Act).  

His effort to create out of nothing a false equivalence between the two parties regarding negative ads is appalling. The GOP lie machine spins the lies faster than we can rebut them. But Warner pretends both parties are doing it. He also implies that it's "negative" to refute a pile of lies. I call it necessary. And there is nothing wrong with that. Such a false equivalence is cowardly, shameful, and self-serving. Lying down and playing dead will not work. And putting up only "positive" ads won't work either.  

Along the way, Warner panders to Bristol Motor Speedway fans, coal, enemies of "ObamaCare," and Peter Peterson's "deficit" hawkeroos. (Hawkeroos are two-faced show-offs who like to prattle away at how spending conscious they are. But they won't make the rich pay their fair share. No, sir.)

What is really disconcerting is his self-adulating self-absorption. He is posturing every minute. Warner's myth of the "radical center" is really all about such posturing and it's also about trying to reinvent as virtuous all those things he doesn't stand for, but should, like enabling the EPA to keep our air and water clean. Or helping the 99% as opposed to the wealthy who don't need more tax cuts. It is as if he's out there saying, "Look at me.  I'm better than all of you. I am especially better than President Obama." (No, you are not, Mark.)

Why Did Politifact Bother With Jackson’s Pension Ploy?

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E.W. Jackson used an anomaly in Social Security history to score an oversimplified and essentially dishonest political point. Typical of the new conservative, Jackson either ignores history, is uninterested in facts or context, or is ignorant. In this respect, "the media" swims in the same cesspool.
"In Galveston, Texas, they have allowed people to privatize part of their Social Security. And people are building wealth." - E. J. Jackson
Impracticable Economic Deceptions (IEDs) are the currency of the "free market" right and sustain the Tea Party utopian ideal. The Republican Party has propagated these myths with passion. The origin of the species can be traced to the less evolved and more transparent supply side Laffer curve which has sired many well-camouflaged mutant and hybrid economic myths. These IEDs have been deployed along the path to our future and threaten to devastate any hope for the American dream.

Jackson's pointless point about the Galveston pension system is instructive. First, it is about the shorthand that the right uses constructing mantras that appeal to the under and misinformed. Next, Social Security, like health care reform, suffered obstruction and practical implementation issues from its inception. What Jackson has helped fashion by planting Galveston in the heads of the thankfully few Virginians who heard or read about the Republican debate is a piece of an horrific IED: privatizing Social Security.

My Two Cents: Loser Man In Overdrive Pitching Failed Economics to...

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Peter Peterson and his "institute" (which is really a propaganda machine) are ubiquitous once again. They really never went away though. They've slithered in and out and around the halls of power, dropping nearly half a billion dollars to own the conversation according to a recent article at Huffington Post. And own it they did and do.  

Once again this week, the Peterson Foundation called a "fiscal summit" and the salivating dogs of the press were there on the spot to pay homage. From NPR to newspapers to cable news we heard once again about the purported need to reduce the deficit while doing the worst possible thing for deficit reduction, slashing revenue.

It's astounding that Peterson thinks we are so stupid that we believe the BIG LIE of trickle down non-economics still. Even more astounding, his institute wants, no, demands, huge added tax cuts for the rich. The fairy tale that tax cuts cuts solve deficits is is laughable. More laughable is that a man who has worked the system, not bettered it, but milked it, thinks he should run the show.

Generational Warfare Fanned By Media Carrying Water for AFP

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Overwhelmingly Americans have spoken: No cuts to Social Security and Medicare.  But the so-called "Americans for Prosperity" and the politicians they own, persist in their mantra that Social Security and Medicare "must" be sacrificed. What to do?  Enter the so-called MSM to pull the propagandize strings. Last week, MSNBC, ABC, and other news outlets were all over a supposed indicator in growing inequality. Among the gems pitched:  


While the rich get richer and poor get poorer, the widening income gap may also be boosting wealth advisory businesses. The age-based wealth gap skyrocketed 47:1 in 2009 compared to 10:1 in 1984, Pew Research Center announced on Monday. Households led by an adult ages 65 or older had median net worth of $170,494 in 2009, compared to $120,457 in 1984, adjusted to 2010 dollars, for a gain of 42 percent. Households headed by an adult under the age of 35 had median net worth of $3,662 in 2009, compared with $11,521 in 1984: a decline of 68 percent.

The point here is to wedge the generations, to make young people angry and resentful at those supposedly horrible, "greedy geezers." Instead of supporting a country which cares about both the young and the old, AFP uses the circular firing squad approach to getting everyone to want to destroy each other. It's sick.

There are numerous reasons for our economic woes (and you know what they are), but that concoction is, well, bull. There is growing inequality, all right, but seniors are not the reason for it. Indeed older Americans have been devastated by the economy and are the least likely to ever find work again.

So what explains this supposed "wealth"? (Please follow below the fold.)

The Great Betrayal

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Dear Mr. President, Speaker Boehner, Senators, and Members of Congress:

I am retired, and I want to be sure I understand what is going on: According to news reports, you are all negotiating among yourselves to reduce the national budget deficit before you raise the so-called debt ceiling of the United States (in order to pay America's bills), and I heard that you have decided to put Social Security and Medicare "on the table" in order to reach a deal with each other. I guess this means that Uncle Sam is considering cutting what they refer to as my "benefits," and the President has said that, if you all do not get an agreement before August, he cannot guarantee that my next Social Security check will be sent to me.

I am dependent on my small monthly Social Security check to survive, because I lost almost all my other savings in the recent stock market crash---- I thought I was being prudent and responsible, when I invested what I could scrape together in Wall Street, but I was wrong, they squandered my money. I knew, though, I had a backup plan with Social Security because I paid into Social Security for over 40 years when I was working, with the understanding that these payments were like premiums, and that I had a contract with my government for an annuity in my old age. Social Security is my annuity contract, and you people cannot now just change the contract I paid for after all these years.

It is not my fault you people in Washington have been irresponsible, and thrown away my premiums just the way Wall Street did. The same goes for my Medicare. Social Security and Medicare cannot be "on the table." Uncle Sam owes me what I have been paying for, a contract is a contract, and my government cannot cheat me in my old age. This is a matter of life and death for people like me. Please help.

Sincerely,
Alpha Granny

WAPO’s “The Fact Checker” Needs a Fact Check

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Spare us the so-called fact-checkers!  Lowkell wrote of one suspect fact-checker.  I have another to tell you about. And I do not believe it is an accident that WAPO and other media outlets all chant the same lines and scapegoat AARP. Indeed, Robert Greenwald's video shows, the elaborate and expensive war against Americans' best interests waged by billionaires and the politicians who love them.  Add to that the corporate media who love them.  

This past weekend, the entire national press corps was a-twitter purporting the AARP had changed its position in opposing cuts to Medicare as part fo the budget process--this following a WSJ "revelation," which, under Rupert Murdoch's Propaganda-R-Us, is about as credible as it's sister outlet, FAUX News. For days the WSJ, along with countless other outlets have been fanning the mythology about the AARP position on Social Security. But the AARP has not changed its position on Social Security. WAPO offered no Pinocchios to WSJ or the fawning media who lapped up it's drivel. Instead, it targeted the  AARP in another matter, an ad it ran concerning budget priorities. And like so many Americans for Prosperity minions, the drumbeat against seniors and the AARP marches on.

What’s Wrong With America, Part 1 (Evan Bayh)

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(First in a Series)

Evan Bayh never listens and is possibly the most tone-deaf Democrat ever to have run for public office.  He  sought to run health care reform in a manner only his wife (a wealthy exec at one of the biggest health insurance companies in America) and Paul Ryan Republicans could love. I cried foul about that on this website.  I'd say good riddance, but he is still doing incalculable damage.  

When I first heard what he is doing now, I held my tongue (for a few days, a least).  But I conclude that I would be remiss if I said nothing. Here's what he's been doing since he left the US Senate courtesy of wikipedia:


On February 15, 2010, Bayh announced he would not seek reelection to the Senate in 2010. After leaving the Senate, he became a partner with the law firm McGuireWoods in the firm's Washington, D.C., office. He also serves as a senior advisor with Apollo Global Management, and is a Fox News Contributor.

Can you spell lobbyist? Bayh gives new meaning to revolving door and failure of being a good steward to this nation and his own constituents. It gets worse, though it is hard to be worse than working for FAUX News.

Poll: Virginians Say Hands Off Social Security (Cut it and You...

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We are flush with recent examples of the GOP, Blue Dogs and Gang-of-Now-Five trying to cut Social Security as a faux fix for deficit reduction, despite the program's having nothing whatsoever to do with the deficit. As I have said here so many times, the fact is that Social Security has never contributed one cent to the deficit. Instead, structural deficits have been created by an ideological group wanting to undermine the tax base while crying the poor mouth over federal programs.  Now Virginia voters give these politicians a piece of their collective mind: Hands off Social Security! This is an important warning to candidates who want to hold Virginia in 2012. It also has interesting implications for our neighbor to the south, North Carolina, as this article shows.

Lake Partners designed and conducted this study in March.  (If anything, as more understand this issue, even more voters will solidify their position against cutting  Social Security.) Here's what the study found:

--Social Security could well play a big role in the 2012 elections.
--3/4 of voters don't fall for the conservative lie that Social Security "contributed to the deficit."
--Across party lines, VA voters "strongly oppose cutting Social Security benefits to reduce the federal deficit (75% oppose 67% strongly oppose)."
--The results transcended age, with more than 70% of voters in every age group opposing cuts to Social Security.
--Two thirds would be less likely to vote for a US Senate candidate who supports cutting benefits to reduce the deficit.
--53% of undecided voters said they will be much less likely to vote for anyone who proposes cuts to Social Security.
--Independents strongly oppose cutting benefits as well.
--Even 57% of the Tea Party respondents oppose cutting Social Security benefits.
--There is "strong bipartisan support among Virginia Voters for lifting the cap to impose Social Security taxes on all wages above $106,800" (everything below that is already taxed for Social Security).